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And send her away with a flea in her ear.

GIU. He whom that young lady married, To receive her can’t refuse.

TESS. If I overtake her
I’ll warrant I’ll make her To shake in her aristocratical shoes!

GIA. (to Tess.). If she married your Giuseppe You and he will have to part–

TESS. (to Gia.). If I have to do it
I’ll warrant she’ll rue it– I’ll teach her to marry the man of my heart!

TESS. (to Gia.). If she married Messer Marco You’re a spinster, that is plain–

GIA. (to Tess.). No matter–no matter. If I can get at her
I doubt if her mother will know her again!

ALL. Quiet, calm deliberation
Disentangles every knot!


(March. Enter procession of Retainers, heralding approach of Duke, Duchess, and Casilda. All three are now dressed with the utmost magnificence.)


With ducal pomp and ducal pride (Announce these comers,
O ye kettle-drummers!)
Comes Barataria’s high-born bride. (Ye sounding cymbals clang!)
She comes to claim the Royal hand– (Proclaim their Graces,
O ye double basses!)
Of the King who rules this goodly land. (Ye brazen brasses bang!)

DUKE and This polite attention touches DUCH. Heart of Duke and heart of Duchess Who resign their pet
With profound regret.
She of beauty was a model
When a tiny tiddle-toddle,
And at twenty-one
She’s excelled by none!

CHORUS. With ducal pomp and ducal pride, etc.

DUKE (to his attendants). Be good enough to inform His Majesty that His Grace the Duke of Plaza-Toro, Limited, has arrived, and begs–
CAS. Desires–
DUCH. Demands–
DUKE. And demands an audience. (Exeunt attendants.) And now, my child, prepare to receive the husband to whom you were united under such interesting and romantic circumstances. CAS. But which is it? There are two of them! DUKE. It is true that at present His Majesty is a double gentleman; but as soon as the circumstances of his marriage are ascertained, he will, ipso facto, boil down to a single gentleman–thus presenting a unique example of an individual who becomes a single man and a married man by the same operation. DUCH. (severely). I have known instances in which the characteristics of both conditions existed concurrently in the same individual.
DUKE. Ah, he couldn’t have been a Plaza-Toro. DUCH. Oh! couldn’t he, though!
CAS. Well, whatever happens, I shall, of course, be a dutiful wife, but I can never love my husband. DUKE. I don’t know. It’s extraordinary what unprepossessing people one can love if one gives one’s mind to it.
DUCH. I loved your father.
DUKE. My love–that remark is a little hard, I think? Rather cruel, perhaps? Somewhat uncalled-for, I venture to believe?
DUCH. It was very difficult, my dear; but I said to myself, “That man is a Duke, and I will love him.” Several of my relations bet me I couldn’t, but I did–desperately!


On the day when I was wedded
To your admirable sire,
I acknowledge that I dreaded An explosion of his ire.
I was overcome with panic– For his temper was volcanic,
And I didn’t dare revolt, For I feared a thunderbolt!
I was always very wary,
For his fury was ecstatic– His refined vocabulary
Most unpleasantly emphatic. To the thunder
Of this Tartar
I knocked under
Like a martyr;
When intently
He was fuming,
I was gently
When reviling
Me completely,
I was smiling
Very sweetly:
Giving him the very best, and getting back the very worst– That is how I tried to tame your great progenitor–at first! But I found that a reliance
On my threatening appearance, And a resolute defiance
Of marital interference,
And a gentle intimation
Of my firm determination
To see what I could do
To be wife and husband too Was the only thing required
For to make his temper supple, And you couldn’t have desired
A more reciprocating couple. Ever willing
To be wooing,
We were billing–
We were cooing;
When I merely
From him parted,
We were nearly
When in sequel
We were equal-
Ly delighted.
So with double-shotted guns and colours nailed unto the mast, I tamed your insignificant progenitor–at last!

CAS. My only hope is that when my husband sees what a shady family he has married into he will repudiate the contract altogether.
DUKE. Shady? A nobleman shady, who is blazing in the lustre of unaccustomed pocket-money? A nobleman shady, who can look back upon ninety-five quarterings? It is not every nobleman who is ninety-five quarters in arrear–I mean, who can look back upon ninety-five of them! And this, just as I have been floated at a premium! Oh fie!
DUCH. Your Majesty is surely unaware that directly your Majesty’s father came before the public he was applied for over and over again.
DUKE. My dear, Her Majesty’s father was in the habit of being applied for over and over again–and very urgently applied for, too–long before he was registered under the Limited Liability Act.


To help unhappy commoners, and add to their enjoyment, Affords a man of noble rank congenial employment; Of our attempts we offer you examples illustrative: The work is light, and, I may add, it’s most remunerative.


DUKE. Small titles and orders
For Mayors and Recorders
I get–and they’re highly delighted–

DUCH. They’re highly delighted!

DUKE. M.P.’s baronetted,
Sham Colonels gazetted,
And second-rate Aldermen knighted–

DUCH. Yes, Aldermen knighted.

DUKE. Foundation-stone laying
I find very paying:
It adds a large sum to my makings–

DUCH. Large sums to his makings.

DUKE. At charity dinners
The best of speech-spinners, I get ten per cent on the takings–

DUCH. One-tenth of the takings.

DUCH. I present any lady
Whose conduct is shady
Or smacking of doubtful propriety–

DUKE. Doubtful propriety.

DUCH. When Virtue would quash her, I take and whitewash her,
And launch her in first-rate society–

DUKE. First-rate society!

DUCH. I recommend acres
Of clumsy dressmakers–
Their fit and their finishing touches–

DUKE. Their finishing touches.

DUCH. A sum in addition
They pay for permission
To say that they make for the Duchess–

DUKE. They make for the Duchess!

DUKE. Those pressing prevailers,
The ready-made tailors,
Quote me as their great double-barrel–

DUCH. Their great double-barrel–

DUKE. I allow them to do so,
Though Robinson Crusoe
Would jib at their wearing apparel–

DUCH. Such wearing apparel!

DUKE. I sit, by selection,
Upon the direction
Of several Companies bubble–

DUCH. All Companies bubble!

DUKE. As soon as they’re floated
I’m freely bank-noted–
I’m pretty well paid for my trouble–

DUCH. He’s paid for his trouble!

DUCH. At middle-class party
I play at ecarte–
And I’m by no means a beginner–

DUKE (significantly). She’s not a beginner.

DUCH. To one of my station
The remuneration–
Five guineas a night and my dinner–

DUKE. And wine with her dinner.

DUCH. I write letters blatant
On medicines patent–
And use any other you mustn’t–

DUKE. Believe me, you mustn’t–

DUCH. And vow my complexion
Derives its perfection
From somebody’s soap–which it doesn’t–

DUKE. (significantly). It certainly doesn’t!

DUKE. We’re ready as witness
To any one’s fitness
To fill any place or preferment–

DUCH. A place or preferment.

DUCH. We’re often in waiting
At junket or feting,
And sometimes attend an interment–

DUKE. We enjoy an interment.

BOTH. In short, if you’d kindle
The spark of a swindle,
Lure simpletons into your clutches– Yes; into your clutches.
Or hoodwink a debtor,
You cannot do better

DUCH. Than trot out a Duke or a Duchess–

DUKE. A Duke or a Duchess!

(Enter Marco and Giuseppe.)

DUKE. Ah! Their Majesties. Your Majesty! (Bows with great ceremony.)
MAR. The Duke of Plaza-Toro, I believe? DUKE. The same. (Marco and Giuseppe offer to shake hands with him. The Duke bows ceremoniously. They endeavour to imitate him.) Allow me to present–
GIU. The young lady one of us married?

(Marco and Giuseppe offer to shake hands with her. Casilda curtsies formally. They endeavour to imitate her.)

CAS. Gentlemen, I am the most obedient servant of one of you. (Aside.) Oh, Luiz!
DUKE. I am now about to address myself to the gentleman whom my daughter married; the other may allow his attention to wander if he likes, for what I am about to say does not concern him. Sir, you will find in this young lady a combination of excellences which you would search for in vain in any young lady who had not the good fortune to be my daughter. There is some little doubt as to which of you is the gentleman I am addressing, and which is the gentleman who is allowing his attention to wander; but when that doubt is solved, I shall say (still addressing the attentive gentleman), “Take her, and may she make you happier than her mother has made me.” DUCH. Sir!
DUKE. If possible. And now there is a little matter to which I think I am entitled to take exception. I come here in state with Her Grace the Duchess and Her Majesty my daughter, and what do I find? Do I find, for instance, a guard of honour to receive me? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. The town illuminated? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Refreshment provided? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. A Royal salute fired? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Triumphal arches erected? No! MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. The bells set ringing?
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Yes–one–the Visitors’, and I rang it myself. It is not enough! It is not enough!
GIU. Upon my honour, I’m very sorry; but you see, I was brought up in a gondola, and my ideas of politeness are confined to taking off my cap to my passengers when they tip me. DUCH. That’s all very well in its way, but it is not enough.
GIU. I’ll take off anything else in reason. DUKE. But a Royal Salute to my daughter–it costs so little.
CAS. Papa, I don’t want a salute. GIU. My dear sir, as soon as we know which of us is entitled to take that liberty she shall have as many salutes as she likes.
MAR. As for guards of honour and triumphal arches, you don’t know our people–they wouldn’t stand it. GIU. They are very off-hand with us–very off-hand indeed. DUKE. Oh, but you mustn’t allow that–you must keep them in proper discipline, you must impress your Court with your importance. You want deportment–carriage– GIU. We’ve got a carriage.
DUKE. Manner–dignity. There must be a good deal of this sort of thing–(business)–and a little of this sort of thing–(business)–and possibly just a Soupcon of this sort of thing!–(business)–and so on. Oh, it’s very useful, and most effective. Just attend to me. You are a King–I am a subject. Very good–


DUKE. I am a courtier grave and serious Who is about to kiss your hand: Try to combine a pose imperious
With a demeanour nobly bland.

MAR. and Let us combine a pose imperious GIU. With a demeanour nobly bland.

(Marco and Giuseppe endeavour to carry out his instructions.)

DUKE. That’s, if anything, too unbending– Too aggressively stiff and grand;

(They suddenly modify their attitudes.)

Now to the other extreme you’re tending– Don’t be so deucedly condescending!

DUCH. and Now to the other extreme you’re tending– CAS. Don’t be so dreadfully condescending!

MAR. and Oh, hard to please some noblemen seem! GIU. At first, if anything, too unbending; Off we go to the other extreme– Too confoundedly condescending!

DUKE. Now a gavotte perform sedately– Offer your hand with conscious pride; Take an attitude not too stately, Still sufficiently dignified.

MAR. and Now for an attitude not too stately, GIU. Still sufficiently dignified.

(They endeavour to carry out his instructions.)

DUKE (beating Oncely, twicely–oncely, twicely– time). Bow impressively ere you glide. (They
do so.)

Capital both, capital both–you’ve caught it nicely!
That is the style of thing precisely!

DUCH. and Capital both, capital both–they’ve caught it nicely!
CAS. That is the style of thing precisely!

MAR. and Oh, sweet to earn a nobleman’s praise! GIU. Capital both, capital both–we’ve caught it nicely!
Supposing he’s right in what he says, This is the style of thing precisely!

(Gavotte. At the end exeunt Duke and Duchess, leaving Casilda with Marco and Giuseppe.)

GIU. (to Marco). The old birds have gone away and left the young chickens together. That’s called tact. MAR. It’s very awkward. We really ought to tell her how we are situated. It’s not fair to the girl. GIU. Then why don’t you do it?
MAR. I’d rather not–you.
GIU. I don’t know how to begin. (To Casilda.) Er–Madam–I–we, that is, several of us– CAS. Gentlemen, I am bound to listen to you; but it is right to tell you that, not knowing I was married in infancy, I am over head and ears in love with somebody else. GIU. Our case exactly! We are over head and ears in love with somebody else! (Enter Gianetta and Tessa.) In point of fact, with our wives!
CAS. Your wives! Then you are married? TESS. It’s not our fault.
GIA. We knew nothing about it.
BOTH. We are sisters in misfortune. CAS. My good girls, I don’t blame you. Only before we go any further we must really arrive at some satisfactory arrangement, or we shall get hopelessly complicated.



ALL. Here is a case unprecedented!
Here are a King and Queen ill-starred! Ever since marriage was first invented Never was known a case so hard!

MAR. and I may be said to have been bisected, GIU. By a profound catastrophe!

CAS., GIA., Through a calamity unexpected TESS. I am divisible into three!

ALL. O moralists all,
How can you call
Marriage a state of unitee, When excellent husbands are bisected, And wives divisible into three?
O moralists all,
How can you call
Marriage a state of union true?

CAS., GIA., One-third of myself is married to half of ye
TESS. or you,

MAR. and When half of myself has married one-third of ye GIU. or you?

(Enter Don Alhambra, followed by Duke, Duchess, and all the Chorus.)



Now let the loyal lieges gather round– The Prince’s foster-mother has been found! She will declare, to silver clarion’s sound, The rightful King–let him forthwith be crowned!

CHORUS. She will declare, etc.

(Don Alhambra brings forward Inez, the Prince’s foster-mother.)

TESS. Speak, woman, speak–
DUKE. We’re all attention!
GIA. The news we seek-
DUCH. This moment mention.
CAS. To us they bring–
DON AL. His foster-mother.
MAR. Is he the King?
GIU. Or this my brother?

ALL. Speak, woman, speak, etc.


The Royal Prince was by the King entrusted To my fond care, ere I grew old and crusted; When traitors came to steal his son reputed, My own small boy I deftly substituted! The villains fell into the trap completely– I hid the Prince away–still sleeping sweetly: I called him “son” with pardonable slyness– His name, Luiz! Behold his Royal Highness!

(Sensation. Luiz ascends the throne, crowned and robed as King.)

CAS. (rushing to his arms). Luiz!
LUIZ. Casilda! (Embrace.)

ALL. Is this indeed the King?
Oh, wondrous revelation!
Oh, unexpected thing!
Unlooked-for situation!

MAR., GIA., This statement we receive GIU., TESS. With sentiments conflicting; Our hearts rejoice and grieve,
Each other contradicting; To those whom we adore
We can be reunited–
On one point rather sore,
But, on the whole, delighted!

LUIZ. When others claimed thy dainty hand, I waited–waited–waited,

DUKE. As prudence (so I understand) Dictated–tated–tated.

CAS. By virtue of our early vow

DUCH. Your pure and patient love is now Rewarded–warded–warded.

ALL. Then hail, O King of a Golden Land, And the high-born bride who claims his hand! The past is dead, and you gain your own, A royal crown and a golden throne!

(All kneel: Luiz crowns Casilda.)

ALL. Once more gondolieri,
Both skilful and wary,
Free from this quandary
Contented are we. Ah!
From Royalty flying,
Our gondolas plying,
And merrily crying
Our “preme,” “stali!” Ah!

So good-bye, cachucha, fandango, bolero– We’ll dance a farewell to that measure– Old Xeres, adieu–Manzanilla–Montero– We leave you with feelings of pleasure!





by W. S. Gilbert


RUDOLPH (Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig). ERNEST DUMMKOPF (a Theatrical Manager).
LUDWIG (his Leading Comedian).
DR. TANNHUSER (a Notary).
BEN HASHBAZ (a Costumier).


LISA (a Soubrette).
Members of Ernest Dummkopf’s Company: OLGA
Chamberlains, Nobles, Actors, Actresses, etc.


ACT I.–Scene. Public Square of Speisesaal.

ACT II.–Scene. Hall in the Grand Ducal Palace.

Date 1750.

First produced at the Savoy Theatre on March 7, 1896.

SCENE.–Market-place of Speisesaal, in the Grand Duchy of Pfennig Halbpfennig. A well, with decorated ironwork, up L.C. GRETCHEN, BERTHA, OLGA, MARTHA, and other members of ERNEST DUMMKOPF’S theatrical company are discovered, seated at several small tables, enjoying a repast in honour of the nuptials of LUDWIG, his leading comedian, and LISA, his soubrette.


Won’t it be a pretty wedding?
Will not Lisa look delightful? Smiles and tears in plenty shedding– Which in brides of course is rightful One could say, if one were spiteful, Contradiction little dreading,
Her bouquet is simply frightful– Still, ’twill be a pretty wedding! Oh, it is a pretty wedding!
Such a pretty, pretty wedding!

ELSA. If her dress is badly fitting, Theirs the fault who made her trousseau.

BERTHA. If her gloves are always splitting, Cheap kid gloves, we know, will do so.

OLGA. If upon her train she stumbled, On one’s train one’s always treading.

GRET. If her hair is rather tumbled, Still, ’twill be a pretty wedding!

CHORUS. Such a pretty, pretty wedding!


Here they come, the couple plighted– On life’s journey gaily start them. Soon to be for aye united,
Till divorce or death shall part them.

(LUDWIG and LISA come forward.)


LUD. Pretty Lisa, fair and tasty,
Tell me now, and tell me truly, Haven’t you been rather hasty?
Haven’t you been rash unduly? Am I quite the dashing sposo
That your fancy could depict you? Perhaps you think I’m only so-so?
(She expresses admiration.) Well, I will not contradict you!

CHORUS. No, he will not contradict you!

LISA. Who am I to raise objection? I’m a child, untaught and homely– When you tell me you’re perfection, Tender, truthful, true, and comely– That in quarrel no one’s bolder,
Though dissensions always grieve you– Why, my love, you’re so much older That, of course, I must believe you!

CHORUS. Yes, of course, she must believe you!

If he ever acts unkindly,
Shut your eyes and love him blindly– Should he call you names uncomely, Shut your mouth and love him dumbly– Should he rate you, rightly–leftly– Shut your ears and love him deafly. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
Thus and thus and thus alone Ludwig’s wife may hold her own!

(LUDWIG and LISA sit at table.)


NOT. Hallo! Surely I’m not late? (All chatter unintelligibly in reply.)
NOT. But, dear me, you’re all at breakfast! Has the wedding taken place? (All chatter unintelligibly in reply.) NOT. My good girls, one at a time, I beg. Let me understand the situation. As solicitor to the conspiracy to dethrone the Grand Duke–a conspiracy in which the members of this company are deeply involved–I am invited to the marriage of two of its members. I present myself in due course, and I find, not only that the ceremony has taken place–which is not of the least consequence –but the wedding breakfast is half eaten–which is a consideration of the most serious importance.

(LUDWIG and LISA come down.)

LUD. But the ceremony has not taken place. We can’t get a parson!
NOT. Can’t get a parson! Why, how’s that? They’re three a
LUD. Oh, it’s the old story–the Grand Duke! ALL. Ugh!
LUD. It seems that the little imp has selected this, our wedding day, for a convocation of all the clergy in the town to settle the details of his approaching marriage with the enormously wealthy Baroness von Krakenfeldt, and there won’t be a parson to be had for love or money until six o’clock this evening!
LISA. And as we produce our magnificent classical revival of Troilus and Cressida to-night at seven, we have no alternative but to eat our wedding breakfast before we’ve earned it. So sit down, and make the best of it.
GRET. Oh, I should like to pull his Grand Ducal ears for him, that I should! He’s the meanest, the cruellest, the most spiteful little ape in Christendom!
OLGA. Well, we shall soon be freed from his tyranny. To-morrow the Despot is to be dethroned! LUD. Hush, rash girl! You know not what you say. OLGA. Don’t be absurd! We’re all in it–we’re all tiled, here.
LUD. That has nothing to do with it. Know ye not that in alluding to our conspiracy without having first given and received the secret sign, you are violating a fundamental principle of our Association?


By the mystic regulation
Of our dark Association,
Ere you open conversation
With another kindred soul, You must eat a sausage-roll! (Producing one.)

ALL. You must eat a sausage-roll!

LUD. If, in turn, he eats another, That’s a sign that he’s a brother– Each may fully trust the other.
It is quaint and it is droll, But it’s bilious on the whole.

ALL. Very bilious on the whole.

LUD. It’s a greasy kind of pasty,
Which, perhaps, a judgement hasty Might consider rather tasty:
Once (to speak without disguise) It found favour in our eyes.

ALL. It found favour in our eyes.

LUD. But when you’ve been six months feeding (As we have) on this exceeding
Bilious food, it’s no ill-breeding If at these repulsive pies
Our offended gorges rise!

ALL. Our offended gorges rise!

MARTHA. Oh, bother the secret sign! I’ve eaten it until I’m quite uncomfortable! I’ve given it six times already to-day–and (whimpering) I can’t eat any breakfast! BERTHA. And it’s so unwholesome. Why, we should all be as yellow as frogs if it wasn’t for the make-up! LUD. All this is rank treason to the cause. I suffer as much as any of you. I loathe the repulsive thing–I can’t contemplate it without a shudder–but I’m a conscientious conspirator, and if you won’t give the sign I will. (Eats sausage-roll with an effort.)
LISA. Poor martyr! He’s always at it, and it’s a wonder where he puts it!
NOT. Well now, about Troilus and Cressida. What do you play?
LUD. (struggling with his feelings). If you’ll be so obliging as to wait until I’ve got rid of this feeling of warm oil at the bottom of my throat, I’ll tell you all about it. (LISA gives him some brandy.) Thank you, my love; it’s gone. Well, the piece will be produced upon a scale of unexampled magnificence. It is confidently predicted that my appearance as King Agamemnon, in a Louis Quatorze wig, will mark an epoch in the theatrical annals of Pfennig Halbpfennig. I endeavoured to persuade Ernest Dummkopf, our manager, to lend us the classical dresses for our marriage. Think of the effect of a real Athenian wedding procession cavorting through the streets of Speisesaal! Torches burning–cymbals banging–flutes tootling–citharae twanging–and a throng of fifty lovely Spartan virgins capering before us, all down the High Street, singing “Eloia! Eloia! Opoponax, Eloia!” It would have been tremendous! NOT. And he declined?
LUD. He did, on the prosaic ground that it might rain, and the ancient Greeks didn’t carry umbrellas! If, as is confidently expected, Ernest Dummkopf is elected to succeed the dethroned one, mark any words, he will make a mess of it. [Exit LUDWIG with LISA. OLGA. He’s sure to be elected. His entire company has promised to plump for him on the understanding that all the places about the Court are filled by members of his troupe, according to professional precedence.

ERNEST enters in great excitement.

BERTHA (looking off). Here comes Ernest Dummkopf. Now we shall know all about it!
ALL. Well–what’s the news? How is the election going? ERN. Oh, it’s a certainty–a practical certainty! Two of the candidates have been arrested for debt, and the third is a baby in arms–so, if you keep your promises, and vote solid, I’m cocksure of election!
OLGA. Trust to us. But you remember the conditions? ERN. Yes–all of you shall be provided for, for life. Every man shall be ennobled–every lady shall have unlimited credit at the Court Milliner’s, and all salaries shall be paid weekly in advance!
GRET. Oh, it’s quite clear he knows how to rule a Grand Duchy!
ERN. Rule a Grand Duchy? Why, my good girl, for ten years past I’ve ruled a theatrical company! A man who can do that can rule anything!


Were I a king in very truth,
And had a son–a guileless youth– In probable succession;
To teach him patience, teach him tact, How promptly in a fix to act,
He should adopt, in point of fact, A manager’s profession.
To that condition he should stoop (Despite a too fond mother),
With eight or ten “stars” in his troupe, All jealous of each other!
Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew, Each member a genius (and some of them two), And manage to humour them, little and great, Can govern this tuppenny State!

ALL. Oh, the man, etc.

Both A and B rehearsal slight– They say they’ll be “all right at night” (They’ve both to go to school yet); C in each act must change her dress, D will attempt to “square the press”; E won’t play Romeo unless
His grandmother plays Juliet; F claims all hoydens as her rights (She’s played them thirty seasons); And G must show herself in tights
For two convincing reasons– Two very well-shaped reasons!
Oh, the man who can drive a theatrical team, With wheelers and leaders in order supreme, Can govern and rule, with a wave of his fin, All Europe–with Ireland thrown in!

ALL. Oh, the man, etc.
[Exeunt all but ERNEST.

ERN. Elected by my fellow-conspirators to be Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig as soon as the contemptible little occupant of the historical throne is deposed–here is promotion indeed! Why, instead of playing Troilus of Troy for a month, I shall play Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig for a lifetime! Yet, am I happy? No–far from happy! The lovely English comdienne–the beautiful Julia, whose dramatic ability is so overwhelming that our audiences forgive even her strong English accent–that rare and radiant being treats my respectful advances with disdain unutterable! And yet, who knows? She is haughty and ambitious, and it may be that the splendid change in my fortunes may work a corresponding change in her feelings towards me!


JULIA. Herr Dummkopf, a word with you, if you please. ERN. Beautiful English maiden–
JULIA. No compliments, I beg. I desire to speak with you on a
purely professional matter, so we will, if you please, dispense with
allusions to my personal appearance, which can only tend to widen the
breach which already exists between us. ERN. (aside). My only hope shattered! The haughty Londoner
still despises me! (Aloud.) It shall be as you will. JULIA. I understand that the conspiracy in which we are all
concerned is to develop to-morrow, and that the company is likely to elect you to the throne on the understanding that the posts about the Court are to be filled by members of your theatrical troupe, according to their professional importance. ERN. That is so.
JULIA. Then all I can say is that it places me in an extremely awkward position.
ERN. (very depressed). I don’t see how it concerns you. JULIA. Why, bless my heart, don’t you see that, as your leading lady, I am bound under a serious penalty to play the leading part in all your productions?
ERN. Well?
JULIA. Why, of course, the leading part in this production will be the Grand Duchess!
ERN. My wife?
JULIA. That is another way of expressing the same idea. ERN. (aside–delighted). I scarcely dared even to hope for
JULIA. Of course, as your leading lady, you’ll be mean enough to hold me to the terms of my agreement. Oh, that’s so like a man! Well, I suppose there’s no help for it–I shall have to do it!
ERN. (aside). She’s mine! (Aloud.) But–do you really think you would care to play that part? (Taking her hand.) JULIA (withdrawing it). Care to play it? Certainly not–but what am I to do? Business is business, and I am bound by the terms of my agreement.
ERN. It’s for a long run, mind–a run that may last many, many years–no understudy–and once embarked upon there’s no throwing it up.
JULIA. Oh, we’re used to these long runs in England: they are the curse of the stage–but, you see, I’ve no option. ERN. You think the part of Grand Duchess will be good enough for you?
JULIA. Oh, I think so. It’s a very good part in Gerolstein, and oughtn’t to be a bad one in Pfennig Halbpfennig. Why, what did you suppose I was going to play? ERN. (keeping up a show of reluctance) But, considering your strong personal dislike to me and your persistent rejection of my repeated offers, won’t you find it difficult to throw yourself into the part with all the impassioned enthusiasm that the character seems to demand? Remember, it’s a strongly emotional part, involving long and repeated scenes of rapture, tenderness, adoration, devotion–all in luxuriant excess, and all of the most demonstrative description.
JULIA. My good sir, throughout my career I have made it a rule never to allow private feeling to interfere with my professional duties. You may be quite sure that (however distasteful the part may be) if I undertake it, I shall consider myself professionally bound to throw myself into it with all the ardour at my command.
ERN. (aside–with effusion). I’m the happiest fellow alive!
(Aloud.) Now–would you have any objection–to–to give me some idea–if it’s only a mere sketch–as to how you would play it? It would be really interesting–to me–to know your conception of–of–the part of my wife.
JULIA. How would I play it? Now, let me see–let me see. (Considering.) Ah, I have it!


How would I play this part–
The Grand Duke’s Bride? All rancour in my heart
I’d duly hide–
I’d drive it from my recollection And ‘whelm you with a mock affection, Well calculated to defy detection– That’s how I’d play this part–
The Grand Duke’s Bride.

With many a winsome smile
I’d witch and woo;
With gay and girlish guile
I’d frenzy you–
I’d madden you with my caressing, Like turtle, her first love confessing– That it was “mock”, no mortal would be guessing,
With so much winsome wile
I’d witch and woo!

Did any other maid
With you succeed,
I’d pinch the forward jade–
I would indeed!
With jealous frenzy agitated (Which would, of course, be simulated), I’d make her wish she’d never been created– Did any other maid
With you succeed!

And should there come to me,
Some summers hence,
In all the childish glee
Of innocence,
Fair babes, aglow with beauty vernal, My heart would bound with joy diurnal! This sweet display of sympathy maternal, Well, that would also be
A mere pretence!

My histrionic art
Though you deride,
That’s how I’d play that part– The Grand Duke’s Bride!

ERNEST. JULIA. Oh joy! when two glowing young My boy, when two glowing
hearts, young hearts
From the rise of the curtain, From the rise of the curtain,
Thus throw themselves into their Thus throw themselves into
their parts, parts,
Success is most certain! Success is most certain!
If the role you’re prepared to endow The role I’m prepared to
With such delicate touches, With most delicate touch-
By the heaven above us, I vow By the heaven above us, I
You shall be my Grand Duchess! I will be your Grand Duchess!


Enter all the Chorus with LUDWIG, NOTARY, and LISA–all greatly agitated.


My goodness me! What shall we do ? Why, what a dreadful situation!
(To LUD.) It’s all your fault, you booby you–you lump of indiscrimination!
I’m sure I don’t know where to go–it’s put me into such a tetter–
But this at all events I know–the sooner we are off, the better!

ERN. What means this agitato? What d’ye seek? As your Grand Duke elect I bid you speak!


Ten minutes since I met a chap
Who bowed an easy salutation– Thinks I, “This gentleman, mayhap,
Belongs to our Association.”
But, on the whole,
Uncertain yet,
A sausage-roll
I took and eat–
That chap replied (I don’t embellish) By eating three with obvious relish.

CHORUS (angrily). Why, gracious powers, No chum of ours
Could eat three sausage-rolls with relish!

LUD. Quite reassured, I let him know
Our plot–each incident explaining; That stranger chuckled much, as though He thought me highly entertaining. I told him all,
Both bad and good;
I bade him call–
He said he would:
I added much–the more I muckled, The more that chuckling chummy chuckled!

ALL (angrily). A bat could see
He couldn’t be
A chum of ours if he chuckled!

LUD. Well, as I bowed to his applause, Down dropped he with hysteric bellow– And that seemed right enough, because I am a devilish funny fellow.
Then suddenly,
As still he squealed,
It flashed on me
That I’d revealed
Our plot, with all details effective, To Grand Duke Rudolph’s own detective!

ALL. What folly fell,
To go and tell
Our plot to any one’s detective!


(Attacking LUDWIG.) You booby dense– You oaf immense,
With no pretence
To common sense!
A stupid muff
Who’s made of stuff
Not worth a puff
Of candle-snuff!

Pack up at once and off we go, unless we’re anxious to exhibit Our fairy forms all in a row, strung up upon the Castle gibbet!

[Exeunt Chorus. Manent LUDWIG, LISA,
JULIA. Well, a nice mess you’ve got us into! There’s an end of our precious plot! All up–pop–fizzle–bang–done for! LUD. Yes, but–ha! ha!–fancy my choosing the Grand Duke’s private detective, of all men, to make a confidant of! When you come to think of it, it’s really devilish funny! ERN. (angrily). When you come to think of it, it’s extremely injudicious to admit into a conspiracy every pudding-headed baboon who presents himself! LUD. Yes–I should never do that. If I were chairman of this gang, I should hesitate to enrol any baboon who couldn’t produce satisfactory credentials from his last Zoological Gardens.
LISA. Ludwig is far from being a baboon. Poor boy, he could not help giving us away–it’s his trusting nature–he was deceived.
JULIA (furiously). His trusting nature! (To LUDWIG.) Oh, I should like to talk to you in my own language for five minutes–only five minutes! I know some good, strong, energetic English remarks that would shrivel your trusting nature into raisins–only you wouldn’t understand them! LUD. Here we perceive one of the disadvantages of a neglected education!
ERN. (to JULIA). And I suppose you’ll never be my Grand Duchess now!
JULIA. Grand Duchess? My good friend, if you don’t produce
the piece how can I play the part?
ERN. True. (To LUDWIG.) You see what you’ve done. LUD. But, my dear sir, you don’t seem to understand that the man ate three sausage-rolls. Keep that fact steadily before you. Three large sausage-rolls.
JULIA. Bah!–Lots of people eat sausage-rolls who are not conspirators.
LUD. Then they shouldn’t. It’s bad form. It’s not the game. When one of the Human Family proposes to eat a sausage-roll, it is his duty to ask himself, “Am I a conspirator?” And if, on examination, he finds that he is not a conspirator, he is bound in honour to select some other form of refreshment.
LISA. Of course he is. One should always play the game. (To NOTARY, who has been smiling placidly through this.) What are you grinning at, you greedy old man? NOT. Nothing–don’t mind me. It is always amusing to the legal mind to see a parcel of laymen bothering themselves about a matter which to a trained lawyer presents no difficulty whatever. ALL. No difficulty!
NOT. None whatever! The way out of it is quite simple. ALL. Simple?
NOT. Certainly! Now attend. In the first place, you two men fight a Statutory Duel.
ERN. A Statutory Duel?
JULIA. A Stat-tat-tatutory Duel! Ach! what a crack-jaw language this German is!
LUD. Never heard of such a thing. NOT. It is true that the practice has fallen into abeyance through disuse. But all the laws of Pfennig Halbpfennig run for a hundred years, when they die a natural death, unless, in the meantime, they have been revived for another century. The Act that institutes the Statutory Duel was passed a hundred years ago, and as it has never been revived, it expires to-morrow. So you’re just in time.
JULIA. But what is the use of talking to us about Statutory
Duels when we none of us know what a Statutory Duel is? NOT. Don’t you? Then I’ll explain.


About a century since,
The code of the duello
To sudden death
For want of breath
Sent many a strapping fellow. The then presiding Prince
(Who useless bloodshed hated), He passed an Act,
Short and compact,
Which may be briefly stated. Unlike the complicated laws
A Parliamentary draftsman draws, It may be briefly stated.

ALL. We know that complicated laws, Such as a legal draftsman draws,
Cannot be briefly stated.

NOT. By this ingenious law,
If any two shall quarrel,
They may not fight
With falchions bright
(Which seemed to him immoral); But each a card shall draw,
And he who draws the lowest Shall (so ’twas said)
Be thenceforth dead–
In fact, a legal “ghoest”
(When exigence of rhyme compels, Orthography forgoes her spells,
And “ghost” is written “ghoest”).

ALL (aside) With what an emphasis he dwells Upon “orthography” and “spells”!
That kind of fun’s the lowest.

NOT. When off the loser’s popped
(By pleasing legal fiction), And friend and foe
Have wept their woe
In counterfeit affliction, The winner must adopt
The loser’s poor relations– Discharge his debts,
Pay all his bets,
And take his obligations.

In short, to briefly sum the case, The winner takes the loser’s place, With all its obligations.

ALL. How neatly lawyers state a case! The winner takes the loser’s place, With all its obligations!

LUD. I see. The man who draws the lowest card– NOT. Dies, ipso facto, a social death. He loses all his civil rights–his identity disappears–the Revising Barrister expunges his name from the list of voters, and the winner takes his place, whatever it may be, discharges all his functions, and adopts all his responsibilities.
ERN. This is all very well, as far as it goes, but it only protects one of us. What’s to become of the survivor? LUD. Yes, that’s an interesting point, because I might be the survivor.
NOT. The survivor goes at once to the Grand Duke, and, in a
burst of remorse, denounces the dead man as the moving spirit of the plot. He is accepted as King’s evidence, and, as a matter of course, receives a free pardon. To-morrow, when the law expires, the dead man will, ipso facto, come to life again–the Revising Barrister will restore his name to the list of voters, and he will resume all his obligations as though nothing unusual had happened.
JULIA. When he will be at once arrested, tried, and executed on the evidence of the informer! Candidly, my friend, I don’t think much of your plot!
NOT. Dear, dear, dear, the ignorance of the laity! My good
young lady, it is a beautiful maxim of our glorious Constitution that a man can only die once. Death expunges crime, and when he comes to life again, it will be with a clean slate. ERN. It’s really very ingenious.
LUD. (to NOTARY). My dear sir, we owe you our lives! LISA (aside to LUDWIG). May I kiss him? LUD. Certainly not: you’re a big girl now. (To ERNEST.) Well, miscreant, are you prepared to meet me on the field of honour?
ERN. At once. By Jove, what a couple of fire-eaters we are!
LISA. Ludwig doesn’t know what fear is. LUD. Oh, I don’t mind this sort of duel! ERN. It’s not like a duel with swords. I hate a duel with swords. It’s not the blade I mind–it’s the blood. LUD. And I hate a duel with pistols. It’s not the ball I mind–it’s the bang.
NOT. Altogether it is a great improvement on the old method
of giving satisfaction.


Strange the views some people hold! Two young fellows quarrel–
Then they fight, for both are bold– Rage of both is uncontrolled–
Both are stretched out, stark and cold! Prithee, where’s the moral?
Ding dong! Ding dong!
There’s an end to further action, And this barbarous transaction
Is described as “satisfaction”!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! satisfaction! Ding dong! Ding dong!
Each is laid in churchyard mould– Strange the views some people hold!

Better than the method old,
Which was coarse and cruel,
Is the plan that we’ve extolled. Sing thy virtues manifold
(Better than refined gold),
Statutory Duel!
Sing song! Sing song!

Sword or pistol neither uses–
Playing card he lightly chooses, And the loser simply loses!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! simply loses. Sing song! Sing song!
Some prefer the churchyard mould! Strange the views some people hold!

NOT. (offering a card to ERNEST).
Now take a card and gaily sing How little you care for Fortune’s rubs–

ERN. (drawing a card).
Hurrah, hurrah!–I’ve drawn a King:

ALL. He’s drawn a King!
He’s drawn a King!
Sing Hearts and Diamonds, Spades and Clubs!

ALL (dancing). He’s drawn a King!
How strange a thing!
An excellent card–his chance it aids– Sing Hearts and Diamonds, Spades and Clubs– Sing Diamonds, Hearts and Clubs and Spades!

Now take a card with heart of grace– (Whatever our fate, let’s play our parts).

LUD. (drawing card).
Hurrah, hurrah!–I’ve drawn an Ace!

ALL. He’s drawn an Ace!
He’s drawn an Ace!
Sing Clubs and Diamonds, Spades and Hearts!

ALL (dancing).
He’s drawn an Ace!
Observe his face–
Such very good fortune falls to few– Sing Clubs and Diamonds, Spades and Hearts– Sing Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds too!

NOT. That both these maids may keep their troth, And never misfortune them befall,
I’ll hold ’em as trustee for both–

ALL. He’ll hold ’em both!
He’ll hold ’em both!
Sing Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades and all!

ALL (dancing). By joint decree
As {our/your} trustee
This Notary {we/you} will now instal– In custody let him keep {their/our} hearts, Sing Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades and all!

[Dance and exeunt LUDWIG, ERNEST, and NOTARY with the two Girls.

March. Enter the seven Chamberlains of the GRAND DUKE RUDOLPH.


The good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig, Though, in his own opinion, very very big, In point of fact he’s nothing but a miserable prig Is the good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig!

Though quite contemptible, as every one agrees, We must dissemble if we want our bread and cheese, So hail him in a chorus, with enthusiasm big, The good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig!

Enter the GRAND DUKE RUDOLPH. He is meanly and miserably dressed in old and patched clothes, but blazes with a profusion of orders and decorations. He is very weak and ill, from low living.


A pattern to professors of monarchical autonomy, I don’t indulge in levity or compromising bonhomie, But dignified formality, consistent with economy, Above all other virtues I particularly prize. I never join in merriment–I don’t see joke or jape any– I never tolerate familiarity in shape any– This, joined with an extravagant respect for tuppence-ha’penny,
A keynote to my character sufficiently supplies.

(Speaking.) Observe. (To Chamberlains.) My snuff-box!

(The snuff-box is passed with much ceremony from the Junior Chamberlain, through all the others, until it is presented by the Senior Chamberlain to RUDOLPH, who uses it.)

That incident a keynote to my character supplies.

RUD. I weigh out tea and sugar with precision mathematical– Instead of beer, a penny each–my orders are emphatical– (Extravagance unpardonable, any more than that I call), But, on the other hand, my Ducal dignity to keep– All Courtly ceremonial–to put it comprehensively– I rigidly insist upon (but not, I hope, offensively) Whenever ceremonial can be practised inexpensively– And, when you come to think of it, it’s really very cheap!

(Speaking.) Observe. (To Chamberlains.) My handkerchief!

(Handkerchief is handed by Junior Chamberlain to the next in order, and so on until it reaches RUDOLPH, who is much inconvenienced by the delay.)

It’s sometimes inconvenient, but it’s always very cheap!

RUD. My Lord Chamberlain, as you are aware, my marriage with the wealthy Baroness von Krakenfeldt will take place to-morrow, and you will be good enough to see that the rejoicings are on a scale of unusual liberality. Pass that on. (Chamberlain whispers to Vice-Chamberlain, who whispers to the next, and so on.) The sports will begin with a Wedding Breakfast Bee. The leading pastry-cooks of the town will be invited to compete, and the winner will not only enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his breakfast devoured by the Grand Ducal pair, but he will also be entitled to have the Arms of Pfennig Halbpfennig tattoo’d between his shoulder-blades. The Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All the public fountains of Speisesaal will run with Gingerbierheim and Currantweinmilch at the public expense. The Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. At night, everybody will illuminate; and as I have no desire to tax the public funds unduly, this will be done at the inhabitants’ private expense. The Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All my Grand Ducal subjects will wear new clothes, and the Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will collect the usual commission on all sales. Wedding presents (which, on this occasion, should be on a scale of extraordinary magnificence) will be received at the Palace at any hour of the twenty-four, and the Temporary Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sit up all night for this purpose. The entire population will be commanded to enjoy themselves, and with this view the Acting Temporary Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sing comic songs in the Market-place from noon to nightfall. Finally, we have composed a Wedding Anthem, with which the entire population are required to provide themselves. It can be obtained from our Grand Ducal publishers at the usual discount price, and all the Chamberlains will be expected to push the sale. (Chamberlains bow and exeunt). I don’t feel at all comfortable. I hope I’m not doing a foolish thing in getting married. After all, it’s a poor heart that never rejoices, and this wedding of mine is the first little treat I’ve allowed myself since my christening. Besides, Caroline’s income is very considerable, and as her ideas of economy are quite on a par with mine, it ought to turn out well. Bless her tough old heart, she’s a mean little darling! Oh, here she is, punctual to her appointment!


BAR. Rudolph! Why, what’s the matter? RUD. Why, I’m not quite myself, my pet. I’m a little worried and upset. I want a tonic. It’s the low diet, I think. I am afraid, after all, I shall have to take the bull by the horns and have an egg with my breakfast. BAR. I shouldn’t do anything rash, dear. Begin with a jujube. (Gives him one.)
RUD. (about to eat it, but changes his mind). I’ll keep it for supper. (He sits by her and tries to put his arm round her waist.)
BAR. Rudolph, don’t! What in the world are you thinking of?
RUD. I was thinking of embracing you, my sugarplum. Just as a little cheap treat.
BAR. What, here? In public? Really, you appear to have no
sense of delicacy.
RUD. No sense of delicacy, Bon-bon! BAR. No. I can’t make you out. When you courted me, all your courting was done publicly in the Marketplace. When you proposed to me, you proposed in the Market-place. And now that we’re engaged you seem to desire that our first tte- occur in the Marketplace! Surely you’ve a room in your Palace–with blinds–that would do?
RUD. But, my own, I can’t help myself. I’m bound by my own
BAR. Your own decree?
RUD. Yes. You see, all the houses that give on the Market-place belong to me, but the drains (which date back to the reign of Charlemagne) want attending to, and the houses wouldn’t let–so, with a view to increasing the value of the property, I decreed that all love-episodes between affectionate couples should take place, in public, on this spot, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, when the band doesn’t play. BAR. Bless me, what a happy idea! So moral too! And have you found it answer?
RUD. Answer? The rents have gone up fifty per cent, and the sale of opera-glasses (which is a Grand Ducal monopoly) has received an extraordinary stimulus! So, under the circumstances, would you allow me to put my arm round your waist? As a source of income. Just once!
BAR. But it’s so very embarrassing. Think of the opera-glasses!
RUD. My good girl, that’s just what I am thinking of. Hang
it all, we must give them something for their money! What’s that?
BAR. (unfolding paper, which contains a large letter, which
she hands to him). It’s a letter which your detective asked me to hand to you. I wrapped it up in yesterday’s paper to keep it clean.
RUD. Oh, it’s only his report! That’ll keep. But, I say, you’ve never been and bought a newspaper? BAR. My dear Rudolph, do you think I’m mad? It came wrapped round my breakfast.
RUD. (relieved). I thought you were not the sort of girl to
go and buy a newspaper! Well, as we’ve got it, we may as well read it. What does it say?
BAR. Why–dear me–here’s your biography! “Our Detested Despot!”
RUD. Yes–I fancy that refers to me. BAR. And it says–Oh, it can’t be!
RUD. What can’t be?
BAR. Why, it says that although you’re going to marry me to-morrow, you were betrothed in infancy to the Princess of Monte Carlo!
RUD. Oh yes–that’s quite right. Didn’t I mention it? BAR. Mention it! You never said a word about it! RUD. Well, it doesn’t matter, because, you see, it’s practically off.
BAR. Practically off?
RUD. Yes. By the terms of the contract the betrothal is void unless the Princess marries before she is of age. Now, her father, the Prince, is stony-broke, and hasn’t left his house for years for fear of arrest. Over and over again he has implored me to come to him to be married-but in vain. Over and over again he has implored me to advance him the money to enable the Princess to come to me–but in vain. I am very young, but not as young as that; and as the Princess comes of age at two tomorrow, why at two to-morrow I’m a free man, so I appointed that hour for our wedding, as I shall like to have as much marriage as I can get for my money.
BAR. I see. Of course, if the married state is a happy state, it’s a pity to waste any of it.
RUD. Why, every hour we delayed I should lose a lot of you and you’d lose a lot of me!
BAR. My thoughtful darling! Oh, Rudolph, we ought to be very happy!
RUD. If I’m not, it’ll be my first bad investment. Still, there is such a thing as a slump even in Matrimonials. BAR. I often picture us in the long, cold, dark December evenings, sitting close to each other and singing impassioned duets to keep us warm, and thinking of all the lovely things we could afford to buy if we chose, and, at the same time, planning out our lives in a spirit of the most rigid and exacting economy! RUD. It’s a most beautiful and touching picture of connubial bliss in its highest and most rarefied development!


BAR. As o’er our penny roll we sing,
It is not reprehensive
To think what joys our wealth would bring Were we disposed to do the thing
Upon a scale extensive.
There’s rich mock-turtle–thick and clear–

RUD. (confidentially). Perhaps we’ll have it once a year!

BAR. (delighted). You are an open-handed dear!

RUD. Though, mind you, it’s expensive.

BAR. No doubt it is expensive.

BOTH. How fleeting are the glutton’s joys! With fish and fowl he lightly toys,

RUD. And pays for such expensive tricks Sometimes as much as two-and-six!

BAR. As two-and-six?

RUD. As two-and-six–

BOTH. Sometimes as much as two-and-six!

BAR. It gives him no advantage, mind– For you and he have only dined,
And you remain when once it’s down A better man by half-a-crown.

RUD. By half-a-crown?

BAR. By half-a-crown.

BOTH. Yes, two-and-six is half-a-crown. Then let us be modestly merry,
And rejoice with a derry down derry. For to laugh and to sing
No extravagance bring– It’s a joy economical, very!

BAR. Although as you’re of course aware (I never tried to hide it)
I moisten my insipid fare
With water–which I can’t abear–

RUD. Nor I–I can’t abide it.

BAR. This pleasing fact our souls will cheer, With fifty thousand pounds a year
We could indulge in table beer!

RUD. Get out!

BAR. We could–I’ve tried it!

RUD. Yes, yes, of course you’ve tried it!

BOTH. Oh, he who has an income clear Of fifty thousand pounds a year–

BAR. Can purchase all his fancy loves Conspicuous hats–

RUD. Two shilling gloves–

BAR. (doubtfully). Two-shilling gloves?

RUD. (positively). Two-shilling gloves–

BOTH. Yes, think of that, two-shilling gloves!

BAR. Cheap shoes and ties of gaudy hue, And Waterbury watches, too–
And think that he could buy the lot Were he a donkey–

RUD. Which he’s not!

BAR. Oh no, he’s not!

RUD. Oh no, he’s not!

BOTH (dancing).
That kind of donkey he is not! Then let us be modestly merry,
And rejoice with a derry down derry. For to laugh and to sing
Is a rational thing-
It’s a joy economical, very!

RUD. Oh, now for my detective’s report. (Opens letter.) What’s this! Another conspiracy! A conspiracy to depose me! And my private detective was so convulsed with laughter at the notion of a conspirator selecting him for a confidant that he was physically unable to arrest the malefactor! Why, it’ll come off! This comes of engaging a detective with a keen sense of the ridiculous! For the future I’ll employ none but Scotchmen. And the plot is to explode to-morrow! My wedding day! Oh, Caroline, Caroline! (Weeps.) This is perfectly frightful! What’s to be done? I don’t know! I ought to keep cool and think, but you can’t think when your veins are full of hot soda-water, and your brain’s fizzing like a firework, and all your faculties are jumbled in a perfect whirlpool of tumblication! And I’m going to be ill! I know I am! I’ve been living too low, and I’m going to be very ill indeed!


When you find you’re a broken-down critter, Who is all of a trimmle and twitter,
With your palate unpleasantly bitter, As if you’d just eaten a pill–
When your legs are as thin as dividers, And you’re plagued with unruly insiders, And your spine is all creepy with spiders, And you’re highly gamboge in the gill– When you’ve got a beehive in your head, And a sewing machine in each ear,
And you feel that you’ve eaten your bed, And you’ve got a bad headache down here– When such facts are about,
And these symptoms you find In your body or crown–
Well, you’d better look out, You may make up your mind
You had better lie down!

When your lips are all smeary–like tallow, And your tongue is decidedly yallow,
With a pint of warm oil in your swallow, And a pound of tin-tacks in your chest– When you’re down in the mouth with the vapours, And all over your Morris wall-papers
Black-beetles are cutting their capers, And crawly things never at rest–
When you doubt if your head is your own, And you jump when an open door slams– Then you’ve got to a state which is known To the medical world as “jim-jams” If such symptoms you find
In your body or head,
They’re not easy to quell– You may make up your mind
You are better in bed,
For you’re not at all well!

(Sinks exhausted and weeping at foot of well.)


LUD. Now for my confession and full pardon. They told me the Grand Duke was dancing duets in the Market-place, but I don’t see him. (Sees RUDOLPH.) Hallo! Who’s this? (Aside.) Why, it is the Grand Duke!
RUD. (sobbing). Who are you, sir, who presume to address me in person? If you’ve anything to communicate, you must fling yourself at the feet of my Acting Temporary Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain, who will fling himself at the feet of his immediate superior, and so on, with successive foot-flingings through the various grades–your communication will, in course of time, come to my august knowledge.
LUD. But when I inform your Highness that in me you see the
most unhappy, the most unfortunate, the most completely miserable man in your whole dominion–
RUD. (still sobbing). You the most miserable man in my whole dominion? How can you have the face to stand there and say such a thing? Why, look at me! Look at me! (Bursts into tears.)
LUD. Well, I wouldn’t be a cry-baby. RUD. A cry-baby? If you had just been told that you were going to be deposed to-morrow, and perhaps blown up with dynamite for all I know, wouldn’t you be a cry-baby? I do declare if I could only hit upon some cheap and painless method of putting an end to an existence which has become insupportable, I would unhesitatingly adopt it!
LUD. You would ? (Aside.) I see a magnificent way out of this! By Jupiter, I’ll try it! (Aloud.) Are you, by any chance, in earnest?
RUD. In earnest? Why, look at me! LUD. If you are really in earnest–if you really desire to escape scot-free from this impending–this unspeakably horrible catastrophe–without trouble, danger, pain, or expense–why not resort to a Statutory Duel?
RUD. A Statutory Duel?
LUD. Yes. The Act is still in force, but it will expire to-morrow afternoon. You fight–you lose–you are dead for a day. To-morrow, when the Act expires, you will come to life again and resume your Grand Duchy as though nothing had happened. In the meantime, the explosion will have taken place and the survivor will have had to bear the brunt of it. RUD. Yes, that’s all very well, but who’ll be fool enough to be the survivor?
LUD. (kneeling). Actuated by an overwhelming sense of attachment to your Grand Ducal person, I unhesitatingly offer myself as the victim of your subjects’ fury. RUD. You do? Well, really that’s very handsome. I daresay
being blown up is not nearly as unpleasant as one would think. LUD. Oh, yes it is. It mixes one up, awfully! RUD. But suppose I were to lose?
LUD. Oh, that’s easily arranged. (Producing cards.) I’ll put an Ace up my sleeve–you’ll put a King up yours. When the drawing takes place, I shall seem to draw the higher card and you the lower. And there you are!
RUD. Oh, but that’s cheating.
LUD. So it is. I never thought of that. (Going.) RUD. (hastily). Not that I mind. But I say–you won’t take an unfair advantage of your day of office? You won’t go tipping people, or squandering my little savings in fireworks, or any nonsense of that sort?
LUD. I am hurt–really hurt–by the suggestion. RUD. You–you wouldn’t like to put down a deposit, perhaps?
LUD. No. I don’t think I should like to put down a deposit.
RUD. Or give a guarantee?
LUD. A guarantee would be equally open to objection. RUD. It would be more regular. Very well, I suppose you must have your own way.
LUD. Good. I say–we must have a devil of a quarrel! RUD. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Just to give colour to the thing. Shall I give you a sound thrashing before all the people? Say the word–it’s no trouble.
RUD. No, I think not, though it would be very convincing and it’s extremely good and thoughtful of you to suggest it. Still, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
RUD. No half measures. Big words–strong language–rude remarks. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Now the question is, how shall we summon the people? RUD. Oh, there’s no difficulty about that. Bless your heart, they’ve been staring at us through those windows for the last half-hour!


RUD. Come hither, all you people–
When you hear the fearful news, All the pretty women weep’ll,
Men will shiver in their shoes.

LUD. And they’ll all cry “Lord, defend us!” When they learn the fact tremendous
That to give this man his gruel In a Statutory Duel–

BOTH. This plebeian man of shoddy– This contemptible nobody–
Your Grand Duke does not refuse!

(During this, Chorus of men and women have entered, all trembling with apprehension under the impression that they are to be arrested for their complicity in the conspiracy.)


With faltering feet,
And our muscles in a quiver, Our fate we meet
With our feelings all unstrung! If our plot complete
He has managed to diskiver, There is no retreat–
We shall certainly be hung!

RUD. (aside to LUDWIG).
Now you begin and pitch it strong–walk into me abusively–

LUD. (aside to RUDOLPH).
I’ve several epithets that I’ve reserved for you exclusively.
A choice selection I have here when you are ready to begin.

RUD. Now you begin

LUD. No, you begin–

RUD. No, you begin–

LUD. No, you begin!

CHORUS (trembling).
Has it happed as we expected? Is our little plot detected?


RUD. (furiously).
Big bombs, small bombs, great guns and little ones! Put him in a pillory!
Rack him with artillery!

LUD. (furiously).
Long swords, short swords, tough swords and brittle ones! Fright him into fits!
Blow him into bits!

RUD. You muff, sir!

LUD. You lout, sir!

RUD. Enough, sir!

LUD. Get out, sir! (Pushes him.)

RUD. A hit, sir?

LUD. Take that, sir! (Slaps him.)

RUD. It’s tit, sir,

LUD. For tat, sir!

CHORUS (appalled).
When two doughty heroes thunder, All the world is lost in wonder;
When such men their temper lose, Awful are the words they use!

LUD. Tall snobs, small snobs, rich snobs and needy ones!

RUD. (jostling him). Whom are you alluding to?

LUD. (jostling him). Where are you intruding to?

RUD. Fat snobs, thin snobs, swell snobs and seedy ones!

LUD. I rather think you err.
To whom do you refer?

RUD. To you, sir!

LUD. To me, sir?

RUD. I do, sir!

LUD. We’ll see, sir!

RUD. I jeer, sir!
(Makes a face at LUDWIG.) Grimace, sir!

LUD. Look here, sir–
(Makes a face at RUDOLPH.) A face, sir!

CHORUS (appalled).
When two heroes, once pacific,
Quarrel, the effect’s terrific!
What a horrible grimace!
What a paralysing face!

ALL. Big bombs, small bombs, etc.

LUD. and RUD. (recit.).
He has insulted me, and, in a breath, This day we fight a duel to the death!

NOT. (checking them).
You mean, of course, by duel (verbum sat.), A Statutory Duel.

ALL. Why, what’s that?

NOT. According to established legal uses, A card apiece each bold disputant chooses– Dead as a doornail is the dog who loses– The winner steps into the dead man’s shoeses!

ALL. The winner steps into the dead man’s shoeses!

RUD. and Lud. Agreed! Agreed!

RUD. Come, come–the pack!

LUD. (producing one). Behold it here!

RUD. I’m on the rack!

LUD. I quake with fear!

(NOTARY offers card to LUDWIG.)

LUD. First draw to you!

RUD. If that’s the case,
Behold the King! (Drawing card from his sleeve.)

LUD. (same business). Behold the Ace!

CHORUS. Hurrah, hurrah! Our Ludwig’s won And wicked Rudolph’s course is run– So Ludwig will as Grand Duke reign Till Rudolph comes to life again–

RUD. Which will occur to-morrow!
I come to life to-morrow!

GRET. (with mocking curtsey).
My Lord Grand Duke, farewell! A pleasant journey, very,
To your convenient cell
In yonder cemetery!

LISA (curtseying).
Though malcontents abuse you, We’re much distressed to lose you! You were, when you were living,
So liberal, so forgiving!

BERTHA. So merciful, so gentle!
So highly ormamental!